Sweden has been an incredibly accommodating host to a record number of immigrants in recent years, including many who have fled to Europe from war torn regions in search of a more peaceful existence. Close to a quarter of a million migrants have descended upon the small country of just under seven million, and they've been provided shelter, meals and resources from its socially liberal government. Undoubtedly, many inspiring personal success stories have arisen from this show of generosity, and lives have been changed for the better. Testing Tolerance examines the opposite end of the spectrum and exposes real concerns from a country in the midst of an identity crisis.
By welcoming such a significant influx of migrants, it was inevitable that the fingerprint of the country and its many communities would change. But perhaps no one could have predicted the rise in gang activity, drug trafficking, violent crime and sexual assault.
Angered by the impotence and inaction of their police and government, a group of watchdog activists roam and patrol the most dangerous streets. They fight for a return to the country they once knew, and freedom from the violence and desperation that have consumed their once peaceful communities.
Their approach has proven controversial, and they are often labeled as racists or vigilantes. The filmmakers follow several of them as they venture out on their night patrols. They claim they are not prejudiced against any particular race, ethnicity or religion; they merely want a return to order where their citizens can live without fear. Some place the blame on an apathetic government that fails to enforce the restrictions that many citizens demand.
The filmmakers speak with other figures at the center of the immigration debate, and several migrants who testify to their difficulties in assimilating to a distrusting environment.
Testing Tolerance treads into volatile territory that will likely provoke some viewers, but it presents points of view that are worthy of consideration.
Directed by: Aleksandr Avilov